Whitehead, Als & Nottage Win Pulitzers
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The just-announced 2017 Pulitzers are going to make your day
The 2017 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced, setting the literary world momentarily abuzz as a few lucky writers gather up the one laurel their mothers have actually heard of. The winners will receive $10,000 each.
Enough preface — here are your 2017 winners for Letters & Drama:
— Fiction: Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
— Non-fiction: Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
— Criticism: Hilton Als of The New Yorker
— Drama: Lynn Nottage, Sweat
— Poetry: Tyehimba Jess, Olio
Whitehead’s victory marks only the eighth time a novel has won the book world’s two top prizes, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. The only others to pull off the famed bi-fecta were The Shipping News (Annie Proulx), Rabbit is Rich (John Updike), The Color Purple (Alice Walker), The Stories of John Cheever, The Fixer (Bernard Malamud), The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter and A Fable (William Faulkner).
Whitehead took to social media for a quick celebration:
Recommended Reading’s Associate Editor, Brandon Taylor, struck a similar note on behalf of the winner for Criticism, Hilton Als:
BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, HILTON ALS!!!!!!!!!!
Shortly before the announcement, Lynn Nottage, award-winner for Drama, had other things on her mind:
Ugh. Just spent 3 hours reformatting & proofing. Lost all of my work. I wish there was a hotline to call to help cope w/ this kinda loss.
The full list of winners, including the big journalism prizes, can be found here. Finalists have also been named, with Adam Haslett (Imagine Me Gone) and C.E. Morgan (The Sport of Kings) rounding out the nods for Fiction.
2017 marks the Pulitzer Prize centennial. The fiction award (originally reserved for novels) has been around since the start, though no prize was handed out in 1917. (The first went to that classic of American literature, His Family, by Ernest Poole.) Over the next hundred years, the committee has declined to hand out any Prize for fiction in eleven different years, which either adds a little extra gravitas to the award or represents some next-level-Jonathan-Franzen-trolling, depending on how you want to look at it.
How did Bradley Sides do with his predictions for EL? Pretty damn good.
And finally, according to the organization’s FAQ’s, the name of the award is in fact pronounced PULL-it-sir, as in “Q: Is that a tail sticking out of your trench coat? A: Pull it, sir, and you’ll find out.” Another mystery solved.
That wraps up another year in book prizes, folks. Like Balzac said, “There goes another novel.”